The big time travel paradox

One of the cool things to contemplate with time travel is the time travel paradox. It goes something like this:

Can you go back in time and kill your own grandfather before he meets your grandmother? Surely, if time travel is possible, then it shouldn’t be a problem to go back through time and do it. BUT if you kill your grandfather, you won’t be born. And if you’re not born, you can never live to travel back in time and kill your grandfather.

I like to use the Terminator films to illustrate this. In Terminator, they send the T-800 back in time to kill Sarah Connor and prevent the birth of rebel leader John Connor. But surely if they succeed and John Connor is never born, then no T-800 will ever be sent back to kill him as he won’t exist.

Perhaps it’s impossible to change the past, or perhaps if you were able to change the past you’d effectively create a parallel universe in which a new sequence of events takes place. Or maybe you’d just destroy the universe.

Several influential science fiction shows, films and books explore this paradox, but my favourite solution to it has to be from Doctor Who. The Doctor says that time isn’t static and is made up of “wibbly-wobbly timey wimey…bits” that can change and easily accomodate paradoxes. And he’s a Timelord so he should know, really.

In the meantime, explore time travel paradoxes with Timesplash by Graham Storrs!


Timesplash by Graham Storrs

It started out as something underground, edgy and cool. Then Sniper took it all too far and timesplashing became the ultimate terrorist weapon.

Scarred by their experiences in the time travelling party scene, Jay and Sandra are thrown together in what becomes the biggest manhunt in history: the search for Sniper, Sandra’s ex-boyfriend and a would-be mass murderer.

Set in the near future, Timesplash is a fast-paced action thriller. Filled with great characters, a sprinkling of romance, and a new and intriguing take on time travel, Timesplash is ultimately a very human tale about finding bravery through fear, and never giving up.

Highly recommended for science fiction and thriller enthusiasts alike.

Timesplash is the first book in the Timesplash series. True Path: Timesplash 2 will be released in July 2013. You can preorder it now.





  • Anne Treasure

    Look but what about the new Star Trek films? What about Spock I and Spock II? Mark how could you not talk about the Spock paradox. Mark. Mark.

    • Joshua Mostafa

      Looper was the most absurd. The protagonist & his older self (Bruce Willis) start talking about paradoxes in a diner & then Willis just slams his fist down on the table & shouts something along the lines of “IT’S COMPLICATED, OK! SHUT UP!”

      • Anne Treasure

        That’s just lazy storytelling/world-building, surely (I’ve not seen Looper though so idk). I only just saw the Back to the Future movies so my time-travel paradox grounding is in its infancy, but even I know you need a proper explanation for these things.

    • There isn’t a Spock paradox at all, really. The events surrounding Spock’s presence in the past created an alternate timeline. It doesn’t affect the old timeline at all. It was a clever trick to justify a reboot movie and its sequels.

      • Anne Treasure

        The old “alternate timeline” trick, eh? Sounds a bit timey-wimey to me tbh.

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